So you are sick of the damage to your car that comes with snowy winters and salted roads and you are not going to take it anymore! You’re ready to sue someone for this tort, someone like the city, and the county, and the state.
It can be done, but there are a few things you should know first.
Making a Claim
While authorities are responsible for wrongs caused by their negligence and you can sue local government with some limitations, there are many obstacles to a case against a municipality for damage to your car from snowy roads. Lawsuits against government entities have some special wrinkles.
Suing federal, state, or even local government usually involves an initial claim. A notice of potential injury lawsuit is filed, making the target of the stated suit aware of accusations. So, you must first figure out who is responsible for maintenance of the roadways that caused the damage to your car and direct the claim that way; there may be more than one entity involved.
This notice is called a claim and it allows the government to respond before a suit is filed. Perhaps the claim is valid on its face and the entity moves to settle immediately, on the basis of the initial notice alone. But that is rare and not likely to happen in a salt damage suit unless something truly outrageous happened to your car, which is not out of the question if there was negligence in the maintenance of the roads.
Statute of Limitations
There are time limits for filing a claim, so when you decide to do it, act fast. Statutes of limitation are laws that determine how long a plaintiff has before a claim is stale. These laws exist to limit the extent of liability and also for evidence purposes, so that cases don’t become impossible to prove because the information is too old.
Governments have sovereign immunity, a kind of shield carried over from British notions about the king’s liability. What that means today is that if your claim is rejected, you may have difficulty continuing with your case.
The authorities must submit to a suit and can claim sovereign immunity if they do not wish to and have acted reasonably. That said, you can still give your salt damage lawsuit a try, especially if you have experienced serious injury to your car as a result.
Get a Lawyer
Many lawyers will consult for free and you will almost certainly find someone willing to bet on a suit against the government if there seems to be a legitimate claim. In any case, many attorneys consult for free, so consider speaking to one about your complaints.
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